The right pair of leather sandals should cradle your feet in luxurious comfort. Jerusalem Sandals are handcrafted by skilled artisans who finish each pair by hand - which means finding your perfect fit may take some trial and error.
If your leather sandals feel a little tight in a few places, that's perfectly normal. It takes a bit of time to develop your relationship, as genuine leather stretches and conforms to your feet over time. Try our tips to loosen up your new sandal soul mate and get a custom fit that's in it for the long haul.
How to Stretch Your Leather Sandals in Eight Steps
1. Take them out on the town. The best way to get to know someone new is to do things together. Stroll the neighborhood, bike through the park or walk down Memory Lane. Wearing your leather sandals teaches them what your feet like, where the difficult spots are and how to respond to your gait.
2. Take it slow. There's no need to rush into this relationship with your new sandals. Spend an hour or so wearing them every day, then let them have some alone time. Your feet and these handcrafted sandals need time to get used to each other, to read each other's signals. Keeping it low-key at first gives you both a chance to adjust.
3. Be hands-on. While you're taking it slow, you can certainly explore your leather sandals with your hands. Work any straps or spots that chafe or feel tight on your short excursions. The heat and natural oils from your hands will soften the leather. Squeezing them with your hands mimics the friction of walking, which helps speed up the breaking in period.
4. Go for a soak.
100% vegetable tanned leather is water resistant but porous. That means they will absorb water when they are fully immersed. To gain headway on stretching your leather sandals, strap them on and step into a pool or bucket of water. Step immediately out, then walk around in the sandals until they dry. This will help imprint your unique footprint onto your leather sandals.
5. Warm things up. A little heat can really loosen up the flexibility of leather. Emphasis on little! Use a hairdryer on its lowest setting to target specific spots on your sandals, let them cool slightly, then work that area with your hands to stretch it.
6. Moisture to go around. Here's where self-care and shoe care dovetail. Give yourself an at-home spa treatment by massaging moisturizer into your feet. Then put on your sandals and go for a stroll. The lotion will help soften the leather as it molds to the shape of your foot. We suggest a natural lotion to reduce the risk of anything that might stain your sandals.
7. Protect your sandals.
One way to stretch leather sandals is to make your feet seem bigger. Put on a pair of socks to add a half size or so to your feet, then wear them around the house. The socks-and-sandals look is not considered fashionable in some circles, so we recommend keeping it on the down-low. The bonus here is that wearing sandals with socks will protect your toes and heels from blistering while you're breaking in your sandals.
8. Seek a professional. Professional cobblers have special tools and skills for stretching leather shoes and women's or men's sandals without risking any damage. If there's a shoe shop in your area, take your men's or women's leather sandals in for an inspection and a quote.